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Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature and Other Essays Paperback – September 15, 2000
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Nonetheless, this collection of Rothbard's essays - which came out in 1974 - is probably the best place to start if you want to get an overview of Rothbard's contributions, at least in the areas of political theory, social theory, and (some) cultural criticism. (The second edition appears to be identical to the first edition, except that it contains a brief 1991 "postscript" by Rothbard and a useful introduction by Dr. David Gordon.)
The title essay - Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature - is a seminal essay. Politicians love to lecture us on the supposed equality of men; however, as Rothbard shows, it is inequality that is fundamental. The leftist drive for equality is contrary to human nature. Rothbard picks up this theme again in Freedom, Inequality, Primitivism, and the Division of Labor. He shows that the drive for equality is a direct attack on the division of labor. As such, it will only serve to impoverish everyone (rich and poor alike).
This collection also contains two outstanding essays on the state: The Anatomy of the State; and War, Peace, and the State. In the second, Rothbard makes a strong case for peace and against weapons of mass destruction.
There are at least three other collections of Rothbard's works available. The first -- Making Economic Sense -- is a collection of short essays on economics. The second -- The Irrepressible Rothbard -- is a collection of his essays in the Rothbard-Rockwell Report which focus on cultural criticism.Read more ›
Without always agreeing completely with Rothbard - I think he has a tendency to be somewhat too consistent at times - I have always found his work to be very funny and thought-provoking. This collection contains two truly remarkable essays: "Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature" and especially "Freedom, Inequality, Primitivism, and the Division of Labor". Rothbard actually takes the trouble to take Marxists at their word and to examine, not only the means, but also the ends. It turns out even the goals sincere Marxists fight for - as opposed to the cruel realities they have always somehow succeeded in creating - are totally at odds with human nature.
The other essays, if sometimes a tad too "American" for this European reader, live up to Rothbard's usual high standards. The only essay that I found somewhat unconvincing was "Conservation in the Free Market". Rothbard doesn't seem to have thought it important to save areas of unspoilt nature; he doesn't even examine that possibility. But then perhaps there is another essay by him somewhere in which there is an answer to that question? If so, I'm looking forward to read it!
"The horror we all instinctively feel at these stories is the intuitive recognition that men are not uniform, that the species, mankind, is uniquely characterized by a high degree of variety, diversity, differentiation; in short, inequality. An egalitarian society can only hope to achieve its goals by totalitarian methods of coercion; and, even here, we all believe and hope the human spirit of individual man will rise up and thwart any such attempts to achieve an ant-heap world. In short, the portrayal of an egalitarian society is horror fiction because, when the implications of such a world are fully spelled out, we recognize that such a world and such attempts are profoundly antihuman; being antihuman in the deepest sense, the egalitarian goal is, therefore, evil and any attempts in the direction of such a goal must be considered evil as well."
Other reviewers do an able job of explaining Rothbard's thinking; my review provides you with some idea of the emotional force of his writing. This is an important collection of essays by an important American thinker.
Based on Mises' thought, Rothbard reminds us a truth that is hated by all the left, old or new: our world is ruled by a natural order, transcendent and superior to the man (although perfectly knowledgeable by that one), composed by physical, biological and economical laws; consequently, her existence implies that all human action must be conducted by her strict observance, in order to avoid the disastrous and tragic consequences produced by the opposite behaviour, which is typical of the leftist policies.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fantastic writings by Rothbard. would recommend to anyone who wants to know more on what the title tells you plain and simple. Read morePublished 5 months ago by A. Jensen
Reading Rothbard offers a unique and refreshing historical perspective on why the world has faced continual turmoil since Cain slew Abel. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Daniel Lyle
This collection of essays by the immortal Murray Rothbard covers quite a range of topics -- philosophical, political, economic -- while remaining both insightful and engaging the... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Darien Sumner
Rosanne Rosannadanna would often go on and on about things that she had completely misunderstood (such as: "there should be more violins on television"). Read morePublished 13 months ago by T. Grant
A good primer on libertarian thought. Rothbard makes libertarian solutions to problems appear very logical and common sense. Read morePublished 17 months ago by David
As an anarchist, I finally decided to read Rothbard directly and I can see why 1) anarchists are disturbed by his version of it, and 2) where some of the right-libertarian delusion... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Ricardo Munoz
After reading this book I wonder
How come didn't I have those ideas before?
Answer:cause I was not born a genius
Mathematical equalty[=]is an abstact,absolutist,totally metamathematical concept,which,in this book,as a concept,is elided or ignored. Read morePublished on January 26, 2011 by Diotima